Swiss-Ball Reverse Crunch

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Swiss-Ball Reverse Crunch

Building the upper abs is relatively easy once your fat layer has been reduced, since almost every ab motion involves a contraction of the upper region. The majority of ab exercises work the upper abs at the cost and neglect of the lower abs. Meanwhile, even exclusive training of the lower abs will still result in impressive upper-ab development.

The lower abs are challenged more when you do ab work that involves the lower body; for example, the reverse crunch. That’s why it’s a good idea to incorporate the Swiss-ball reverse crunches into your abdominal workout.

What’s the most effective lower abs exercise? Undoubtedly doing variations of reverse crunches (such as incline bench reverse crunches or stability ball reverse crunches) is the most effective way to train your lower abs. This will require much more strength and concentration than the floor exercise since as well as having to lift your feet you need to maintain your balance on the ball without the aid of your feet or hands being in contact with the floor.

How to Perform the Swiss-Ball Reverse Crunches?

Place an exercise ball (Swiss-ball; stability ball)) next to an exercise machine or other apparatus that you can grab for stability. Lie faceup on a Swiss ball with your legs bent. Position the middle of your back on the ball. Hold on a sturdy object behind your head for support. Your thighs are perpendicular to the floor (your hips and knees should form a 90-degree angle). Hold your knees that way during the entire movement.

Exercise-Ball Reverse Crunch

Exercise-Ball Reverse Crunch

Lift your hips up and in, pause, then lower them back to the starting position. In other words, your goal is to slowly bring your knees toward your chest, lifting your hips and glutes off the ball. Only your hips, glutes, and lower back should raise off the ball. Try to maintain the bend in your knees throughout the entire range of motion (movement). Return to the starting position under control.

Exercise Key Points

  • Move your stability ball to a position near the wall bars so you can lie across the ball with your lower back on it while your hands stretch out above your head to grip the wall bars.
  • Slowly contract the lower abdominal region by pulling the pelvis up toward the rib cage. Continue to pull the pelvis toward the rib cage until the abdominals are fully contracted and the hips are rolled up slightly off the Swiss ball.

Muscles Engaged

The Swiss-ball reverse crunch uses the weight of the lower body as a source of resistance to the rectus abdominis (lower area).

Primary muscles: rectus abdominis (lower portion)
Secondary muscles involved: external and internal obliques, transverse abdominal, hip flexors (iliopsoas, rectus femoris)
Antagonists: spinal erectors

Exercise Variations

Replacement Exercises

Try these other exercises targeting the same primary muscle group (rectus abdominis – lower area):

Closing Thoughts

The reverse crunch (and its variations) holds the key to good midsection development as it stresses the bulk of the central muscle of the abdomen with an emphasis on the lower area.

This exercise requites a Swiss ball. The Swiss-ball reverse crunch is a more challenging exercise than the reverse crunch using the bench. The Swiss ball introduces a stability challenge, so you have to be careful of your surroundings and make sure you check your Swiss ball for damage before you begin this exercise.

Hence the Swiss-ball reverse crunch will effectively provide more resistance to the rectus abdominis than the floor reverse crunch (flat bench reverse crunch). If you found this exercise relatively easy to do than either you’re an Olympic gymnast or you’re doing it wrong!

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